Is a robotic vacuum right for me?

Robotic Vacuum

Even if you’re new to home robotics, you probably know what a robotic vacuum is and are wondering if they’re right for you and worth your hard earned money.

Robotic vacuums are not a small investment. They can range from $300 all the way up to almost $1000. If you’re the type of person who’s always around to clean up, or doesn’t mind a messy house between cleaning days
a robotic vacuum is probably not the best investment for you.

If you’re thinking about getting an iRobot Roomba, and having having trouble deciding, be sure to check out my Which Roomba to Buy post first. If you’re interested in a Roomba Alternative, I have a post for that as well.

Top 5 Robotic Vacuums

I’ve read all of the reviews, reviewed all of the major robotic vacuums, and here are the top 5. I’ve taken into consideration price, convenience, features, reliablity, and longetivity to bring you, the reader, the ultimate top 5 list of robotic vacuums. In my roomba model comparison article, I compare all the top Roomba models for 2016. If you want a Roomba, that article is a must read.


Neato Botvac Connected Wi-Fi Enabled
Wifi Connected. This is cool! you can schedule cleanings with an app and get notifications.

This is the best in cleaning tech available.

D shape cleans corners well, like all other Neato models

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Roomba 880 Pet & Allergy
This is my favorite Roomba for the price. It's great for pet and allergy sufferers.

Cleans up to 3 rooms with the included Virtual Wall Lighthouse beacons

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Roomba 980
Awesome cleaning bot! Like the Botvac connected, this one syncs to your smart phone, and can clean an entire level of your home with smart navigation features.

It's high priced, but really the top of the line of robotic vacuums. If you need the very best, then the price is not the top consideration.

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Neato XV-21 Pet & Allergy
Great for pets/allergy sufferers.

D-shape gets into corners better than round bots

Great price!

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Roomba 650 for Pets

On-Board Scheduling: Preset up to seven times per week for Roomba to clean when it's most convenient for you.

3-Stage Cleaning System picks up dust, pet hair and larger debris like cereal.

Comments: Very good for the price

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Can you answer yes to one or more of the following?

  • Busy lifestyle
  • Takes pride in having a clean living space
  • Has a pet that sheds
  • Has Kids
  • Values free time
  • Loves gadgets.

If you’ve answered “yes” to one or more of the above points above then you should strongly consider buying a robotic vacuum.
If your time is important to you, having a gadget that helps you clean up while you’re not even home can be a huge help.

Busy people simply do not have time to clean their floors every day with kids, work, meetings, and other activities… who does?
Time is a more and more valuable commodity these days and a few hundred dollars to save a lot of time is totally worth it.

Pets can be a pain to clean up after, and following your dog and cat all day with a broom and dustpan is not a fun thing to do.
There are models of robotic vacuums that are designed specifically to clean up pet hair, and they do it very well. In fact, I review
a couple of vacuum models that are geared toward pet owners here and here.

Also for the gadget people who lead a high tech lifestyle, what could be cooler than having a robot do your housework for you?

Popular Robotic vacuum brands

Cats and Roombas

Right now, the most popular robotic vacuum brand is the iRobot Roomba. Everyone’s heard of this one. Mention Roomba and you won’t get odd looks from anyone. They’re so popular that they’re ingrained into current pop culture… There are even videos of cats and Roombas getting millions of views.

The less popular (but still just as good) contenders are bObsweep and Neato. On my Roomba Alternatives page, I go way in depth about Roomba Competitors and which ones are the best value. Here, I compare Neato to Roomba in a Robotic Vacuum match to the death! I also have a similar comparison between Roomba vs Bobsweep, that’s not so intense.

You’re probably looking for the best value and longest lasting robot vacuum with the best features. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Feel free to browse around the site a little for tips and tricks… Or… Just take a look at my top 5 down below.

Frequently Asked Questions about Robotic Vacuums

How does a robotic vacuum know where to clean?

Long story short, they have infrared sensors that send out a signal to determine the size of the room so it knows how long it will take to clean the room. Once the robot starts cleaning, it uses sensors located on the sides and bottom to know it it’s close to obstacles or a ledge. The quality of it’s sensors and it’s algorithm to calculate obstacles and a good cleaning path is what determines how well your area is cleaned. That’s why it’s important to get a good model if you care about how well your floors are cleaned.

Does it handle corners?

Most robotic vacuums are not able to reach into corners because they’re not able to perfectly fit into a corner of the room. Some of the Neato models are better at cleaning corners than Roombas due to the “D” shape of the body. If corner cleaning is very important to you, consider getting a Neato model rather than a Roomba.

Can it clean under furniture?

Provided that your sofas, chairs, and tables are higher off the ground than your robot is, then it works great for cleaning under furniture! Some people hardly ever clean under their furniture after buying a Roomba or Neato Vac. The only downside is that there will be no place for your lost change to end up!

What should I look for in a robotic vacuum?

If you have pets then you should buy a pet model, if you have allergies, then you need one with a HEPA filter. Other than than, the brand reputation matters. You can’t go wrong with Roomba, Neato, or even bObsweep. Some bots are way better at picking up pet hair than others. I cover the best of these in my review section. Do you want a robotic vacuum to mop your floors for you? There are even robotic mops that do that. Amazing!

There are a lot of other features to consider like charge time, time between charges, and reliability. Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered for that as well.

What are some of the most common features available?

Shape: Round robots look nicer but D-Shaped ones get into corners better

Sensors: Roomba has iAdapt, and Neato has LaserSmart. The sensors in a robotic vacuum are the most important thing to consider. Which one is better? I would say that they’re a tie. They both do a very good job of mapping your living space and finding the quickest route to clean.

HEPA Filter: For allergy sufferers this is a must.

Pet hair: Some models come equipped with the ability to easily handle pet hair, and it works great!

Charge and resume: Your bot will dock with it’s charger when it needs to charge, then resume cleaning the room that it was cleaning when it needed a charge.

Dirt Detection: Some models can sense dirtier areas and focus it’s cleaning power there.

Can a robotic vacuum mop my floors for me?

Yes, there are now robotic floor mops like the iRobot Braava 380t.

What are some of the common problems with robotic vacuums?

  • Black carpet will be detected as a ledge by the ledge sensors and the robot will avoid them since it thinks that it’s
    going to fall. If you don’t have any ledges in your house, you can disable these.
  • The gaps in chairs are most of the time too narrow for a Roomba, Neato or bobsweep.
  • Due to the shape of most robotic vacuums they can’t get into corners.
  • Even though they clean well they’re not perfect. You’ll still need to deep-clean.

Are robotic vacuums loud?

They’re about the same noise level as a regular vacuum so if noise bothers you, it’s best to schedule cleaning while you’re away.

Do I still have to spot clean my floors

Yes, but not often. You’ll still want to clean corners and underneath chairs from time to time.

Will they fall down stairs?

The sensors on the bottom will prevent them from falling off stairs, but nothing’s perfect and I’ve heard of some very early robotic vacuum models taking a tumble down the stairs.

What about cords?

Cords are a mortal enemy of Roombas and Neatos. Make sure you secure all loose cords
before running any model of robotic vacuum.

Can it go over threshold strips?

Yes, nearly all models handle crossing threshold strips quite nicely!

Do I have to move my furniture around so the vacuum can clean?

No, but it does help to move your chairs since the gaps in most chairs are smaller
than what a robotic vacuum can fit between.

What if my pet has an accident? Will the robot vacuum clean it up?
No, it can’t handle a pet accident unfortunately.